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Secure Firearm Storage

January 21, 2022
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WRITTEN BY Dr. Jill Barnas

Executive Summary 

Secure firearm storage refers to the use of a safe, gun safe, gun case, lock box, or similar device that is designed to safely secure a firearm to prevent unintentional gun-related accidents, suicide, and theft. Federal law requires federal firearm licensees to certify the availability of secure gun storage or safety devices. However, use of safe storage equipment is not federally required. In efforts to reduce unintentional gun-related accidents, suicide, and theft, several states have passed legislation requiring firearm owners to store their weapons unloaded, in locked containers, or disable them with trigger locks. Currently, Missouri does not have laws regarding secure firearm storage. HB 1806 would enact legislation that creates the offense of endangering the welfare of a child in the case of failure to secure a firearm.


  • In 2019, 71 firearm-related child deaths occurred in Missouri with 8 deaths (or 11%) from unintentional firearm injuries.
  • Suicides account for approximately 55% of all firearm deaths in Missouri – the 11th highest firearm suicide rate in the United States.
  • Between 2012 and 2017, it has been estimated that approximately 51,500 guns have been stolen in Missouri, with 1,180 firearms stolen directly from firearms retailers.
  • Research indicates that states with the lowest rates of unintentional injury and death (CT & MA) have both negligence-specific firearm access and storage laws.


  • Due to a lack of federal and state requirements for individuals to report firearm theft, the number and rate of firearm thefts in Missouri is unknown.
  • Secure firearm storage is the responsibility of the firearm’s owner and it is unclear how these laws are enforced unless an incident occurs.
  • There are currently no incentives to encourage the sale and use of secure firearm storage. Therefore, it is unsure how incentives may affect the overall use and attitudes towards utilizing appropriate firearm storage.
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